Kevin Durant gives strong 1st impression to Suns with 23 points in win

Mar 1, 2023, 7:15 PM | Updated: 7:23 pm
Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns shoots the ball while guarded by Gordon Hayward #20 of the Cha...
Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns shoots the ball while guarded by Gordon Hayward #20 of the Charlotte Hornets in the first quarter during their game at Spectrum Center on March 01, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

Kevin Durant returned from a 20-game absence for his Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday and he looked like himself against the Charlotte Hornets.

Durant, on a minutes restriction, played 27 and scored 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting with six rebounds, two assists and two blocks in a 105-91 win. The Suns were +13 when Durant was on the floor.

Durant’s first bucket was a left-handed layup in semi-transition.

He made his defensive impact felt early to set up his first triple in the purple and orange too.

Durant got to his unguardable pull-up jumper for some buckets as well.

When the Hornets got within six through three quarters, Durant scored nine points in six minutes to quickly put Phoenix back up 11.

Devin Booker was the man for Phoenix with 37 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

Durant made his debut a full three weeks after the Suns traded for the superstar on Feb. 8, the night before the trade deadline. He missed six additional games with the Suns, making it 20 total for him since he suffered an MCL sprain in his right knee in early January.

He started alongside Ayton, Booker, Josh Okogie and Chris Paul. While Durant was sidelined, Okogie started with Torrey Craig, leading to the question of who would be the fifth starter among the two. Okogie, at least for Wednesday, got the nod.

Phoenix Suns

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, right, drives around Phoenix Suns forward Torr...
Kevin Zimmerman

What’s at stake in each of the Suns’ remaining games?

Kevin Durant's potential return from an ankle injury after a reevaluation sits a week out for the Phoenix Suns.
22 hours ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns drives to the basket past Luguentz Dort #5 of the Oklahoma City...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns collapse in 4th quarter of road loss to Thunder

The Suns were in control for most of Sunday's game against the Thunder but bad turnovers eventually caught up to them.
3 days ago
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)...
Wills Rice

Landry Shamet plays well in Suns return, loss to Thunder

The Suns collapsed late in the 124-120 loss to the Thunder on Sunday in guard Landry Shamet's return after missing 25 games to a heel injury.
3 days ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns high fives Landry Shamet #14 after scoring against the Washin...
Arizona Sports

Suns rule Deandre Ayton out, Landry Shamet probable vs. Thunder

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton will not suit up Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a right hip contusion.
4 days ago
Radio broadcaster Al McCoy following the NBA game between the Phoenix Suns and Oklahoma City Thunde...
Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns’ 2022-23 season will be Al McCoy’s last

This Phoenix Suns season will be the last for legendary broadcaster Al McCoy as the team's play-by-play voice on Arizona Sports 98.7.
5 days ago
Josh Okogie #2 of the Phoenix Suns blocks a shot by Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magic during t...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns hold on vs. Magic to snap 3-game losing streak

Sometimes getting that win to end a skid is like pulling teeth, and it was like that for the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
6 days ago
Kevin Durant gives strong 1st impression to Suns with 23 points in win